maureen hardegree

Heather’s Ghost Handling Rules

While most girls can only complain about cramps and bloating when they get their first period, I, hypersensitive Heather Tildy, got an added feature. The very day my period arrived (at last!), a ghost, or haint as we sometimes refer to them in the South, appeared in my Dad's grapevines while I was euthanizing the Japanese beetles eating the leaves. She just about made me pee in my pants. Even though I'd had an imaginary friend named Amy when I was little, I didn't connect her to the apparition who called herself Amy until I got over the initial shock. She claimed she was looking for fun, (okay, more like whined for me to play with her, like I'm some kind of spectral babysitter), but I suspected there was more to her hanging around the backyard. As you'll see in Haint Misbehavin', I was right. Maureen asked me to share what I've figured out about haints with her website visitors, so here goes.


  •   who had imaginary friends as young children have the ability to see ghosts later in life, and it tends to run in families, like me and Aunt Geneva.

  •   friends ARE ghosts. Don't let anyone ever tell you different.

  •   wear their favorite outfit.

  •   don't always want to move on.

  •   physical or emotional event reawakens a ghost handler's sensitivity to detecting ghosts.

  •   ghosts show themselves to only one person. Other ghosts reveal themselves to anyone with the ability to see. It's the ghost's choice, which can really suck.

  •   handlers can sense a spirit's presence even if the ghost doesn't reveal him or herself to the handler, which also sucks.

  •   dead a ghost is, the longer it takes the ghost to recover from levitating objects.

  •   ghost moves something really heavy, he or she will have to enter the handler's body.

  •   handler's job is to help the ghost resolve something that is keeping him/her in this limbo between worlds.

  •   sometimes are there to help the handlers learn something, but they don't just, like, tell you. They make you figure it out.

  •   can also make themselves more corporeal than spirit so that people can feel their touch. But the longer dead they are, the weaker this ability becomes.

  •   a handler acknowledges a ghost, the ghost can enter the handler and move about within the haunting parameters, space allotted for haunting. Yeah, that sucks, too.

  •   ghost does something nice for the handler, (warning: the good deed might not seem all that nice), and the handler gives permission, the ghost can accompany the handler outside the haunting parameters, which super sucks.

  •   ghost does two nice things for the handler, the ghost can accompany the handler outside the haunting parameters without permission. Can you say super-duper sucks?

  •   ghost does three nice things for the handler and the handler has helped the ghost solve his or her problem, the ghost can move about freely and move on to the next realm, which is really nice IF they do it.